World No.10 Petra Kvitova ended her title drought Saturday, defeating Garbiñe Muguruza 6-2, 6-1 to win her second Qatar Total Open title.
The title is Kvitova's 28th career title, putting her at No.4 on the list of most among active players, behind only Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters. The Czech's dominance in the final constituted her tour-leading 20th win in Doha and moved her remarkable success rate in tour finals to 28-10.
Kvitova joined the WTA Insider Podcast from Doha to reflect on her tricky run to the title and discuss the insecurities she felt after winning her first Wimbledon title at 21.
Listen to the full interview below:
WTA Insider: What do you think was the key to your win this week in Doha?
Kvitova: I think it's been pretty different, I would say. Two matches I played in normal conditions and another two with very windy conditions.
I came here without the coaches as well, just being here with my friend, which even in the past I won some tournaments without my coaches. So that's pretty funny, I would say. But of course I've been in touch with them and it feels a little bit different.
I was waiting for the title since 2019 Stuttgart and it's very nice to hold it again after a while.
WTA Insider: Going back to your quarterfinal match against Anett Kontaveit. It was your toughest match of the week. How important was it for you to win that three-set match? It seemed the three-setters had been breaking against you recently.
Kvitova: Well, already playing Anett, that's always a big challenge. I think I started pretty nicely and having my rhythm and everything, and suddenly I felt so tired. I was like, I can't move anymore, what is wrong with me? It was pretty tough. And I think Anett just played better in the second set.
At the beginning of the third, I was just trying to pump myself a little bit more because I felt a little bit flat in the second set. So I really tried it and I was trying to say many times, fight for every point. I think the beginning of the third set was definitely the key of the whole match in the end because it was just keeping up with the serves. We lost so many serves as well. It was good that I was still able to return pretty well and won one of those tight games in that match.
But definitely, it was an important one for me. It was during the day as well. It was pretty hot, the shadows came. So even in this time, the conditions were a little bit different as well. So I'm glad for it.
WTA Insider: It seemed like you learned your lesson in that match because you were really pumping yourself up in the semifinals and final.
Kvitova: Yeah, I've been pumping [myself up]. Maybe because I knew how it feels when I played with Anett.
But with Jessica [Pegula] yesterday, it wasn't about the tennis, it was about the wind. I think it was really bothering both of us. It was a lot of slices as well, which I'm not normally playing that much. It was tough to go to the net. Serves as well. We couldn't make aces. It was just a little bit different, I would say.
Maybe it's helped me that I played her already in the US Open, that she could not really surprise me that much. But still, she played great and it was a really tough one. And even in the second I was down 3-0 and I found a way somehow. So it was better than to play a third set.
WTA Insider: You mentioned in your press conference that you aren't able to swing as freely as you did when you were younger because it had to play fearless as you get older. Why do you think the pressure increases as you get older?
Kvitova: I would say that on the other hand, when I'm getting a bit older I think that I just should know a little bit more how to handle the pressure, which is very good, because otherwise I don't play probably anymore because it would be so tough (laughs).
When you are young, you just don't really think and the other ones are more of the favorites and everything. But then with the success, of course, winning Wimbledon and struggling afterwards a little bit, and then another Wimby, after the second Wimbledon I felt better. But until that time I couldn't really find it easily.
Every time I stepped on the court, I just felt like I have to win because I already won the Grand Slam and now I have to win everything. The other ones don't feel like this. They are like, OK, I'm just going to play and I have nothing to lose. What can happen? Nothing.
And then of course with my game, it's a little bit risky. Sometimes it's not the best (laughs). But that's what I think I improved in my game as well, that sometimes I'm not that risky anymore, as probably I showed it today. Sometimes I just put it in the middle.
So, yeah, it's just a little bit different. When you are more mature, you are just thinking more about tennis, about life, family. I'm just more taking care of everything. That's probably why I'm thinking, maybe too much sometimes, about everything. Sometimes it's pretty tough.
WTA Insider: Were you scared after winning Wimbledon so young that you might become a "one-hit wonder"? Is that something you worried about?
Kvitova: Well, I can't say I was scared, but on the other hand, yeah, this came to my mind.
'Just once. She was just lucky.'
I had those flashbacks and it's not the best, I would say, because we are working so hard and you win a Grand Slam and we have these stupid memories and thinking these thoughts.
'Ah, she was just lucky.' Actually, it's not true. Yeah, of course the draw can happen somehow and you can really have a great run.
But when you win it for the second time, it was much nicer and deeper and I just enjoy it much more. And I already know how everything is going overall. Since then I didn't have the feeling. So thank God.
WTA Insider: You've now won 28 titles. The only active players to win more titles are Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Kim Clijsters. That's a lot of titles. You often reference and make jokes about the risky nature of your game. What does it say about you that you've won 28 titles with that game?
Kvitova: What it says about me? I do have the ups and downs. But on the other hand, probably I had more ups as well and more downs, but now I think that I'm more on the same level. I'm not losing in the first rounds, but I didn't really win the title, like a big one, for a longer time. It's changing, of course.
I always believe that one week it just comes and I'm going to have the title and I'm going to play great that week.
But maybe I'm not thinking that much about the tennis as well, like itself. After my comeback, I'm just looking a little bit differently at the things in the life and overall to the tennis and everything. I'm just trying to look from the perspective of the life overall.
WTA Insider: Having that different, more holistic approach to life now, how does that change what winning a title means to you?
Kvitova: Well, it means a lot because as I mentioned, it's been a little bit longer, probably, that I would love to have another title. It means a lot, showing myself that I can still compete with the best and win it. Of course, I was in the semifinal in the French Open, but to have the title is a different story.
That's probably how I feel now, that I'm really happy for it. It's not the end of the world and I will not cry with happy tears until late night, but I just feel great inside. I just will enjoy it probably deeper inside of me than I will show it outside.
I was working very hard on the court and off the court to get better, to be fitter, not to be injured, to just play better, serve better. Sometimes it's happening, sometimes not. I hope that it will still be paying off again at some point in the year.